Next generation of TikTokers are rejecting ‘toxic’ face-altering filters in new viral trend

It’s hard to imagine a time before we had filters. Even before we could turn our heads into giant poop emojis or see what Disney character we most resemble, we could at least apply a basic Instagram filter to our photo and make a night out with friends look a whole lot cooler.

But, as one woman on TikTok points out, filter technology has come a long way in the past five or six years — and that hasn’t necessarily been a good thing.

Now, you don’t have to be a Photoshop wizard to alter basically anything on your body, from your nose to your hips and your feet. Anything you don’t like can be gone (or made slimmer/smaller/better) in an instant, with just a few clicks, and if you want to look “hotter” with minimal effort, some filters will even give you a face full of makeup and a glowing tan.

But what has this done to our collective psyche? Especially teens, who’ve literally grown up in a world where nothing is ever quite what it seems? According to @ccspringhetti, there’s no way these body-changing filters have had a positive effect, and that’s really disheartening.

According to the Newport Institute, it seems only natural to want to “fix” certain insecurities we may have about ourselves. But as research has shown, filtering photos and videos can actually lower a person’s self-esteem and distort their body image.

“The further our filtered selfies get from how we really look, the worse we feel about ourselves,” the Institute writes. “And while it’s slowly becoming more accepted to talk about ‘not being okay’ on social media, we’re still supposed to look good while talking about it.”

But maybe — just maybe — the tides are finally turning.

A new TikTok trend has emerged to show just how much these filters “lie” about what we look like — and just how toxic that really is.

Using a split-screen image, TikTokers move from one end of the frame to the other, showing their “natural” (aka non-filtered) face on one side and their filtered face on the other.


Reply to @taryn_opal31 the filter is back up and running you guys! I want to see all your gorgeous faces showing filter vs reality✨ #filtervsreality #filtervsrealitychallenge #filtervsrealitytrend #idontlooklikeher

♬ original sound – 🧡Chi🧡 – 🥸

While they typically start off makeup-free, they wind up looking totally different once they’ve been put through a filter, with false eyelashes, large and different-colored eyes — and lots and lots of makeup. In the background, the song “I Don’t Look Like Her” by Daisy Clark plays, driving home the message that all these filters really do is turn us into some sort of fake, cartoon version of ourselves.

The comparison is so stark that it can’t help but make you think about the implications. And for a lot of TikTokers who’ve tried the trend, it’s even made them ditch the habit of using filters altogether.

“am i the only one that prefers the natural side?” one TikToker asked after showing her own transition from non-filter to filter.

“No,” replied one user. “I prefer your natural side too.”

“its pretty because you’re pretty!” someone else told her.

“these filters are so toxic,” said another creator who began to smile once she removed the filter over her own face.

For the most part, it seems like the TikTok trend is building steam and helping people love themselves again — just as they are. And at the end of the day, that can only lead to good things.


This trend is kinda wholesome tho 🥺

♬ original sound – 🧡Chi🧡 – 🥸

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